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The Fat of the Land

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The Fat of the Land

by Anzia Yezierska

Genre: Drama
Format of Original Source: Short Story
Recommended Adaptation Length:

Candidate for Adaptation? Not Reviewed


A fish-peddler held up a large carp in his black, hairy hand and waved it dramatically:

“Women! Women! Fourteen cents a pound!”

He ceased his raucous shouting as he saw Hanneh Breineh in her rich attire approach his cart.

“How much?” she asked pointing to the fattest carp.

“Fifteen cents, lady,” said the peddler, smirking as he raised his price.

“Swindler! Didn’t I hear you call fourteen cents?” shrieked Hanneh Breineh, exultingly, the spirit of the penny chase surging in her blood. Diplomatically, Hanneh Breineh turned as if to go, and the fishman seized her basket in frantic fear.

“I should live; I’m losing money on the fish, lady,” whined the peddler. “I’ll let it down to thirteen cents for you only.”

“Two pounds for a quarter, and not a penny more,” said Hanneh Breineh, thrilling again with the rare sport of bargaining, which had been her chief joy in the good old days of poverty.

“Nu, I want to make the first sale for good luck.” The peddler threw the fish on the scale.

As he wrapped up the fish, Hanneh Breineh saw the driven look of worry in his haggard eyes, and when he counted out for her the change from her dollar, she waved it aside.

“Keep it for your luck,” she said, and hurried off to strike a new bargain at a push-cart of onions.


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